Search Indigenous Plant Attributes

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  1. Acacia burkei

    Acacia burkei (=Senegalia burkei) is a hardy, deciduous, medium sized Acacia that has attractive, large round leaflets.

    Spikes of white flowers from October to January are followed by bright red seed pods.

    This beautiful specimen tree gives dense shade, but is a little slow growing.

  2. Acacia caffra

    Acacia caffra (=Senegalia caffra) is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, graceful tree with feathery foliage that gives the tree a weeping shape.

  3. Acacia davyi

    Acacia davyi (=Vachellia Davyi) is a hardy, drought resistant, deciduous, small Acacia with distinctive yellow or light brown, corky bark on the stems and branches.

    It has clusters of bright yellow puffball flowers on the ends of the branches from December to February, which attract insects to the garden.

  4. Acacia galpinii

    Acacia galpinii (=Senegalia galpinii) is a very hardy fairly fast growing, deciduous thorn tree and is one of the largest of the Acacias.

  5. Acacia karroo

    Acacia karroo (= Vachellia karroo) is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, fast-growing and drought-resistant tree.

    Abundant, fragrant, yellow puffball flowers light up the landscape, and adorn the tree intermittently (in response to rain) throughout summer.

  6. Acacia rehmanniana

    Acacia rehmanniana (=Vachellia rehmanniana) is a hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous Acacia with small, attractive grey-green, velvety leaves.

    The beautiful red bark on the young stems glows in the sunlight while the mature bark has dark brown rough strips with a red background.

    Try to plant the tree where it either catches the rising or setting sun, when the glowing stems are a sight to behold.

  7. Acacia sieberiana woodii

    The Acacia sieberiana woodii (=Vachellia sieberiana) is a hardy (protect from frost when young) large, semi-deciduous, flat-topped Acacia is fast growing.

  8. Acacia tortilis

    Acacia tortilis (=Vachellia tortilis) is a hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, slow growing umbrella-shaped Acacia.

  9. Aloe barberae bainesii

    Aloe barberae (bainesii) is a surprisingly hardy, large, evergreen, tree-like Aloe, which can tolerate high rainfall.

  10. Celtis africana

    Celtis africana is a very hardy, deciduous, graceful, drought resistant, large tree.

  11. Cordia caffra

    Cordia caffra is a hardy, fast growing small to medium sized deciduous tree with attractive, distinctive, mottled and flaky bark.

    The attractive, drooping, glossy leaves have long petioles and wave in the slightest breeze, adding movement to the garden.

    It has creamy-white, sweetly scented flowers in September and October that attract insects to the garden.

  12. Curtisia dentata

    Curtisia dentata is a medium-sized, hardy, evergreen tree that can grow quite large in moist forested areas.

  13. Cussonia paniculata

    Cussonia paniculata is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, drought resistant tree. This is an ideal form plant with a truly indigenous look.

    The beautiful grey-green leaves are large and leathery and clustered at the ends of the branches.

    The spikes of flowers are borne in large, robust branched flowering stems from January to March.

  14. Faidherbia albida

    Faidherbia albida is a hardy, drought resistant, fast growing, large thorn tree that is deciduous at various times of the year - sometimes summer and sometimes winter.

    This seems to coincide with seasonal flooding.

  15. Gymnosporia buxifolia

    Gymnosporia buxifolia is a very hardy, drought resistant, semi-deciduous, small tree or large shrub. It is armed with formidable long, straight spines.

    Blooms profusely with white flowers that cover the branches from August to March.

  16. Kigelia africana

    Kigelia africana is a fairly hardy, very fast growing, briefly deciduous, medium sized tree.

    It has a straight stem and a rounded crown.

    The large compound leaves are clustered at the ends of the branches with lovely coppery coloured new growth.

  17. Mimusops zeyheri

    Mimusops zeyheri is a semi-hardy, drought resistant, fairly fast growing decorative tree that has a spreading, densely rounded, evergreen crown and deeply grooved bark.

  18. Pappea capensis

    Pappea capensis is a hardy, evergreen, very attractive, small to medium sized, neatly shaped, dense tree.

  19. Portulacaria afra

    Portulacaria afra is a hardy, evergreen, neatly shaped, small tree or shrub with pretty round, succulent leaves and ruby red branches.

    The leaves have a pleasant acid flavour and can be used in salads.

    From October to January, after rain, it is covered in clear pink to rosy mauve, nectar rich flowers - a wonderful sight. The papery 3-winged ornamental fruits resemble pinkish lanterns.

    Plant in well-drained soil in sun or shade.

    Useful for binding soil.

  20. Scolopia mundii

    Scolopia mundtii is a very hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, medium growing, small or medium sized tree which is rare and even more rare in cultivation.

    The coppice shoots of this tree have spines which soon disappear.

  21. Asparagus laricinus

    Asparagus laricinus is a very hardy, evergreen, shrubby Asparagus with fine, feathery foliage and silvery, zigzag branchlets.

    It has a myriad of tiny, white, nectar-rich flowers in spring and summer that are fragrant and attract insects and birds.

  22. Ehretia rigida

    Ehretia rigida is a very hardy, deciduous, drought resistant, attractive shrub with an interesting shape.

  23. Leonotis leonurus

    Leonotis leonurus is a very hardy, drought and frost resistant, evergreen perennial shrub.

    This well-loved, decorative shrub has masses of showy, compact clusters of orange or white, velvety flowers repeated in circles up the length of every long stalk from February. to July. 

    An important food and nectar plant for sunbirds, bees and butterflies during autumn and winter.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade and cut back severely after flowering for best results and mass flowering the next season.

    It has been grown as a garden plant in Europe since the 1600s.

    It is extensively used as a traditional medicinal and magical herb.

  24. Plumbago auriculata Blue

    Plumbago auriculata blue is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.

    It bears masses of edible, sky-blue Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.

    It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden.

  25. Plumbago auriculata White

    Plumbago auriculata white is a hardy, scrambling, much branched, evergreen shrub.

    It bears masses of edible, white Phlox-like flowers on and off all year round.

    It is an important butterfly host plant and attracts both butterflies and birds to the garden. 

    A popular garden and hedging plant that is also suitable for covering banks.

    Prune regularly to keep smaller and in shape as it can get quite wild.

  26. Salvia africana caerulea

    Salvia africana caerulea is a very hardy, evergreen small to medium sized shrub with aromatic grey leaves that have many medicinal properties and can be used in cooking.

    It bears spikes of attractive, blue to purple flowers from August to December that have copious nectar and attract birds and bees, (for which the flower is specially adapted), to the garden.

    This plant is attractive and easy to grow.

    It will add both texture and colour to the garden.

  27. Eriocephalus africanus

    Eriocephalus africanus is a hardy, attractive, fast growing evergreen, aromatic, small shrub, with fine, soft, grey, heavily scented leaves.  

    It flowers from autumn to winter with white, daisy-like flowers that have a purple centre and are followed by attractive, white, woolly seed heads.  

    Plant in a well-drained, sunny position and ensure it is well watered.

  28. Hypoestes aristata

    Hypoestes aristata is a hardy, evergreen, small to medium sized, rounded shrub with grey-green leaves that have lighter veins giving them a variegated look.

    It bears abundant spikes that are densely packed with 2-lipped deep purple flowers with darker purple spots in the middle of winter, from March to August, when very little else is in flower.

    The flowers attract butterflies and other insects to the garden which is a boon to the insect eating birds.

  29. Pelargonium fragrans

    Pelargonium fragrans is a hardy, evergreen, compact natural hybrid Pelargonium with delicate leaves that have a distinct nutmeg scent.

    It flowers profusely with clusters of dainty, small white flowers from May to August but has some flowers all year round.

  30. Portulacaria afra prostrata

    Portulacaria afra prostrata is a fairly hardy, pretty, succulent groundcover is a variety of P. afra but instead of being a large upright shrub it has a creeping habit and stays low.

    It has attractive round, glossy leaves on long arching succulent branches.

  31. Scabiosa columbaria Blue

    Scabiosa columbaria  blue is a hardy, evergreen, soft, clump-forming, herbaceous perennial with attractive, deeply lobed, grey green foliage. 

    This hybrid, free flowering perennial has large, showy flowers that are carried on slender erect stems all year round.

    A lovely plant for mass planting in full sun.

  32. Tulbaghia violacea

    Tulbaghia violacea is a very hardy, evergreen, tuft forming bulbous plant, with semi-succulent, strap-like, grey-green leaves that are garlic scented when bruised.

    Long stalks carrying umbels of delicate lilac to pink flowers are borne mainly from January to April. It will however bloom on and off almost all year in cultivation.

    The flowers are sweetly scented at night and make excellent cut flowers. Use in the garden as a companion plant, particularly to deter aphids.

    When sitting outside whack some of the leaves on your table or chair and this will deter flies and mosquitoes.

    Used medicinally. It can also be used as a garlic substitute in salads, soups and stews. The flowers are a decorative addition to a salad.

    An excellent groundcover for difficult areas as it can thrive in very poor soils and with very little watering.

  33. Aristida junciformis

    Aristada junciformis is a handsome, very hardy, thick tufted grass with copious wispy seed heads that sway beautifully in the wind.

    The seeds persist on the plant for an extended period from November. to May, and the culms are slow to yellow with the onset of winter, making this a good landscape grass.

    A particularly good species for providing habitat for Vlei Rats and other grassland or wetland wildlife. Will grow well in wet, clay soil, as well as under normal garden conditions.

    It is also well utilized in the making of brooms.

    Size up to 60cm

  34. Chloris gayana

    Chloris gayana is a hardy, evergreen very leafy tufted perennial grass.

    It has finger-like (digitate) flowering heads from November to May.

  35. Pogonarthria squarrosa

    Pogonarthria squarrosa is a very hardy, semi-deciduous, tufted perennial grass. The short brown racemes of flowers curve upwards, making a herringbone pattern, thus the common name. 

    The flowers are borne from November to May and attract small seed eating birds. Plant in groups to get the full effect of the flowers and seed heads. 

    A beautiful garden plant that should be pruned down to about 5cm above ground level and raked every year in late winter.

    It makes an attractive addition to a grassland garden, and as it is not a very robust grass, it lends itself to being planted in between wildflowers. Plant in sun or semi-shade, in well drained soil.

    Size 30 to 50 cm

  36. Jasminum multipartitum

    Jasminum multipartitum is a very hardy, evergreen, fast-growing creeper or scrambler with small, glossy, dark-green foliage.

    It bears masses of fragrant, white (with deep pink undersides), star-shaped flowers, from August to January.

  37. Aponogeton distachyos

    Aponogeton distachyos is a fast growing aquatic herb with glossy oblong leaves that float on the waters surface. 

    Sweetly scented, edible flowers stand up out of the water above the leaves, attracting attention. The flower is interesting in that it is a forked inflorescence bearing tiny, white, one-petalled flowers with brown anthers.

    Bees are very attracted to the flowers and may be one of the main pollinators. Waterblommetjies flower in profusion during winter and spring. Large areas of water in the Western, Southern and Eastern Cape are covered with their sweetly scented, white flowers.

    An excellent plant for ponds and dams, although where growing conditions are good, it needs cutting back and splitting to keep it from taking over. Rhizomes can be lifted in autumn and divided. Replant them immediately in good soil, in shallow water, and as they begin to grow in summer they can be moved into deeper water.

    Plant in pots, in good soil, and place in full sun to partial shade for some of the day.

    This is a well known local delicacy for the cold winter months. It has become so popular that many commercial plantings have been made in ponds around the western Cape. Cooked with onions, mutton or lamb and a few leaves of the local sorrel/suring (Oxalis pes-caprae), it makes a delicious stew.



  38. Melinis repens

    Melinis repens is a hardy, tufted, weakly perennial grass with greyish green leaves.It has beautiful plumes of hairy, pink flowers that become pale, almost white as they mature. Flowers and seeds from September to June.

    This is the grass you see along the roads shining in the sun. It generally grows in disturbed areas, regardless of soil type.It is a good soil stabiliser interplanted with other perennial grasses or groundcovers.

    The seeds attract seed eating birds.

    Plant in sun or semi-shade.

  39. Cenchrus ciliaris

    Cenchrus ciliaris is a tufted, shrubby perennial grass with bright green to blue-green leaves that are up to a metre long.
    The grass culms are jointed, and roots often arise at these joints or nodes.

    The flower spikes are bristly and cat-tail like, carried on stalks just above the leaves.

  40. Crassula multicava Purple

    Crassula multicava 'Purple' is a hardy, evergreen, mat-forming, broad-leaved succulent plant. The leaves are purple on the underside, making this an attractive, colourful plant all year round, even when not in flower.

    From May to November it bears many sprays of dainty, star-shaped, pink flowers that attract a whole host of tiny insects.

  41. Aloe ferox

    Aloe ferox is a hardy, drought-resistant, single stemmed Aloe with a crown rosette of large, fleshy, succulent bluish-green leaves that have thorny margins.

  42. Aloe rupestris

    Aloe rupestris is a hardy, drought-resistant, single-stemmed Aloe with spreading, bright-green leaves that are reddish along the edges.

    It has a branched raceme of tubular, densely-packed, bright-orange to yellow, cylindrical flowers with protruding dark red stamens.The flowers, which look like bottlebrushes, are borne from July to September.

    This is a lovely garden plant that should be positioned in amongst trees and shrubs, as it doesn’t grow too well in harsh sunlight.

    Plant in well-drained soil to which a little lime has been added.

    Size:up to 8m

  43. Aloe striatula

    Aloe striatula is a very hardy, robust, shrub-like, scrambling Aloe that has attractive, smooth, glossy, dark-green, curved leaves, carried on sturdy stems.

    The spikes of flowers are bright-yellow or orange on unbranched, flowering stems. It flowers from November to March and attracts insects and Sunbirds to the garden.

    An excellent plant for an exclusion zone of a bird garden or planted as a hedge.

    This Aloe can tolerate extremely low temperatures.It will grow in sun or semi-shade.

    Size: 7 to 1m

  44. Raphionacme velutina

    Raphionacme velutina is a very hardy, deciduous, multi-stemmed herbaceous plant with weakly-erect stems arising from a large, tuberous caudex, which is sometimes flattened. The small, elongated, hairy, grey-green leaves are folded upwards in well-spaced, opposite pairs.

    In spring and summer, it bears interesting, yellow-green, star-shaped flowers with purple stamens along the length of the stems.

    Plant in a grassland or succulent garden. To make a beautiful container plant, expose the tuber. Be careful not to over water as it may rot.

    t will grow best in sun or semi-shade, in well-drained but well-composted soil.

    Size: 20cm

  45. Rhus pyroides

    Rhus (Searsia) pyroides is a very hardy, deciduous, drought-resistant tree that tolerates extreme conditions of drought and cold and makes a wonderful pioneer.

  46. Rhoicissus tomentosa

    Rhoicissus tomentose is a hardy, evergreen, robust, woody climber with rough, greyish-brown bark. The ornamental, almost circular to kidney-shaped, dark-green leaves are interspersed with velvety tendrils. 

    The young leaves are hairy and a rich copper or purple colour while the old leaves turn crimson before falling. Dense heads of greenish flowers are borne from October to January. These are followed by large, purple, grape-like berries with white spots, which are another great feature of this climber.

    The fruit is edible and much sought after by birds and other wildlife. It is the host plant of the Silver Striped Hawkmoth. This robust climber will cover a pergola, can be trained up and over walls or planted in a container and pruned regularly to keep it bushy and show off its wonderful foliage.

    Plant in compost-rich soil in sun, semi-shade or shade.

    Size: up to 20m in canopy

  47. Rhoicissus tridentata

    Rhoicissus tridentata is a very hardy, deciduous, fast-growing, drought-resistant, vigorous climber or scrambling shrub with attractive, dark-green foliage that turns red in autumn.

    The small, greenish-yellow flowers are borne in tight clusters on a densely-hairy inflorescence from November to April. The decorative clusters of edible, red, grape-like berries become black and attract birds to the garden. 

    It has many medicinal and traditional uses. The trailing stems are lovely in flower arrangements. Ideal for screening on a fence or cascading down a bank. It also makes a good subject for a large hanging basket.

    Plant in well-drained soil in sun, semi-shade or shade.

    Size: 1 to 3m

  48. Mentha longifolia

    Mentha longifolia is a hardy, evergreen to semi-deciduous, perennial herb which grows in damp areas and has long, thin, bright-green leaves with slightly serrated margins. When crushed they are strongly mint-scented.

    It has slender spikes of white to pale-mauve flowers from December to February. It is an essential element of a butterfly garden and also attracts other pollinating insects and thus insectiverous birds to the garden.

    Makes a delicious herbal tea and can be added to cordials and other cold drinks.

    Excellent for moist areas of the garden or wetland features. It spreads rapidly, so cut off excess shoots and prune regularly to keep in shape. Although it does best in full sun it tolerates a little light shade.

    Size: up to 1m

  49. Acacia gerrardii

    Acacia gerrardii (=Varchellia gerrardii) is a hardy, fairly fast-growing, drought-resistant, deciduous Acacia.It has a long, straight stem that starts branching high up to form a flattish crown.As it is sparsely branched and throws little shade, many plants and lawn grass will grow underneath it.

    The bark is dark grey and fissured, with red under-bark appearing in the cracks.The bark on the young branches is red and young growth is covered in hairs.

    From October to February the tree is literally covered in masses of large, creamy-white, scented puffball flowers that attract many pollinating insects.It is the host plant of the Black-striped Hairtail butterfly.The flowers are followed by nutritious, sickle shaped pods.

    Bark contains tannin that is used for medicinal purposes.It tolerates a wide variety of soil types.This Acacia can be used in fairly small gardens as it is tall but not bulky.

    Plant in full sun.

    Size: 5 to 7m

  50. Tulbaghia simmleri

    Tulbaghia simmleri is a hardy, fast growing, deciduous, bulbous plant with attractive, grey-green, fleshy, strap-like leaves that die back in winter.

    Umbels of deep lilac, sweetly scented flowers are borne on long stems and make an excellent cut flower. It flowers from late summer (May) into early spring (September).

    Plant in well-drained, compost rich soil in shade or sun.

  51. Carissa macrocarpa Green Carpet

    Carissa macrocarpa "Green Carpet" is a hardy, evergreen, drought-resistant, dense, spiny, dwarf spreading shrublet with leathery, dark-green, glossy leaves.

    It has beautiful, quite large, scented, white flowers and large edible red fruits on and off throughout the year.

    It attracts butterflies and fruit-eating birds to the garden. The fruits make a delicious jelly that is sold as ‘Amatungulu Jelly’. This useful plant can be used to cover large areas or clipped into an attractive small formal hedge. It also looks great in a container.

    Erect shoots should be clipped to keep the dwarf habit. Plant in shade, semi-shade or sun, in well-drained, well-composted soil.

    Size: up to 40cm

  52. Ficus craterostoma

    Ficus craterostoma is a fairly hardy, semi-decidious, medium sized strangler fig with a rounded, spreading crown and pale grey bark. It has fairly small leaves for a fig, which are dark glossy green, blunt tipped like a fish’s tail, and spirally arranged, making them an exceptionally attractive feature of this plant.

    The stalkless, hairless figs, which are inverted flowers, are borne in the axils of the leaves. The small figs turn yellowish red when ripe from May to December.

    The figs attract many fruit-eating birds to the garden. Makes a wonderful container plant or bonsai.

    Plant in sun or shade.

    Figs should not be planted close to walls and paving as they have aggressive root system.

    Size: 5 to 10m

  53. Sutherlandia frutescens

    Sutherlandia frutescens is a very hardy, evergreen, fast growing, sun-loving shrub with lovely silver-grey foliage.

    The striking, large, luminous orange pea-like flowers are borne from September to December. They attract Sunbirds and insects to the garden. These are followed by inflated green to pink, papery pods that are so light they are dispersed by wind.

    The pods and flowers are decorative in a vase. It is an important medicinal plant and has traditional uses as well.

    This beautiful slender shrub is a must for any garden. Plant several together for effect and use as a textural plant. It makes a beautiful container plant.

  54. Delosperma cooperi

    Delosperma cooperi is a hardy, evergreen, fast-growing, prostrate, succulent groundcover.

  55. Typha capensis

    Typha capensis is a very hardy reed that can be either evergreen or deciduous depending on local climate.  It is robust, fast-growing and is widespread.  It only grows partially submerged in water. It has long, grey-green stems with blue-green leaves.

    From December to January, the stems end in the typical, cylindrical, velvety brown ‘Bulrush’ flower. These turn into seeds covered in ‘cotton wool’ which helps with dispersal of seeds.

    This ‘cotton wool’ is used to stuff cushions.

    It has many traditional and medicinal uses.

    The Bulrush can be used in boggy areas, among wet pebbles and is one of the best plants to clean grey water. It helps to keep pond water clean and healthy. It is used extensively for the rehabilitation of wetlands and other permanently wet areas. This plant creates vital habitat for many bird species, fish fry, frogs, terrapins and many other aquatic creatures.

    This plant spreads quite aggressively by its rhizomes and should only be planted in containers in garden ponds where it can be controlled.

    Plant in full sun and prune and clean once a year.

    Size: 1 to 2.5m